YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Harry Hoogstraal, Member of Noted Medical Unit, Dies

March 01, 1986

Harry Hoogstraal, for nearly 40 years a member of a widely respected U.S. Navy medical and scientific team in Cairo, is dead.

He died Monday on his 69th birthday, having returned to Cairo from the United States when doctors in this country said his lung cancer was inoperable.

Hoogstraal was one of two American civilian scientists attached to U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, established in Egypt in 1946.

He was considered the world's foremost expert on ticks and tick-borne diseases and in his lifetime visited nearly 100 countries where he collected and studied most of the 800 species of the tick, a blood-sucking creature that spreads disease in both humans and animals.

Over the years the Navy scientific team in Cairo was credited with eliminating typhus and undulant fever from the Middle East, with improved diagnoses of cholera, meningitis and encephalitis and with identifying dozens of previously unknown viruses.

Its members set up the best medical library in the Mideast and, besides pure research, saved the life of Gamal Abdel Nasser's half-brother after an auto accident while prolonging the life and popularity of Om Kalthoun, a singer worshiped in Egypt. They were able to have her career-threatening goiter removed without lessening the quality of her voice.

Hoogstraal, who personally paid for college educations for dozens of Egyptian students, was a graduate of the University of Illinois who held a doctorate degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In 1979 his research was credited with eradicating a normally fatal fever called Crimean-Cong hemorrhagic, which was carried by sand flies.

His survivors include a sister, Catherine Walker, three nieces and one nephew, all of Los Angeles. They suggested contributions in his memory to the Harry Hoogstraal Department of Entomology, 105 Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560.

Los Angeles Times Articles